- Work on a handicraft – I try to create something with my hands every day. Lately I’m doing more cross stitching and tatting.
- Take care of me! I know that it seems obvious, but some days I barely have the energy to brush my teeth and wash my face. Showers need to wait until the water is running warm, and some days this doesn’t happen! I know what you’re thinking, but I just can’t take cold showers. My body rebels and I get sick. I can’t wait till the water heater is installed!
- Have some quiet time for just relaxing.
- Write something, anything.
- Laugh. I miss laughing…
- Remind my hubby how much I love him, how much I appreciate all he does.
- Leave yesterday behind. I try, but it still manages to seep into today…
Everyone has a bit of chaos in their lives. It may not be daily, or even weekly, but it happens. There are some, like me, that seems to swim in it. It pours onto us like the rain, like the sun. It tries to get into our very pores.
I can choose to get angry, rage against it, but it’s about as effective as asking the moon not to rise at night. It is there. It’s going to happen. I accept it. I slowly breathe in, count to three, and let it go. Then I meet it head on.
When my daughters were little, three years old, just the cutest twins you could ever meet, they were the main source of my chaotic life. They were blessed with a mild form of autism called ADHD LLD. This made them impulsive and very active. One evening we were enjoying a rented vhs disney movie. We were sitting in the girl’s bedroom eating popcorn, watching some princess and prince trying to fall in love. Out of nowhere, sweet little girl #1 shoved a popcorn kernel into sweet little girl #2’s ear. Deep. Very deep. We had to go to the hospital to get it out.
We came home and I settled the girls into bed. I had just kissed them goodnight, tucked them into bed, and shut their door when I hear a blood curdling scream. Sweet little girl #2 shoved a popcorn kernel into sweet little girl #1’s ear. Deep. Very deep. Hospital trip #2 in less than an hour. Same nurse. Same doctor. Same questions, but with an “Um, didn’t we just take this out of her ear 45 minutes ago?” “Nope, different child, her sister got revenge.” CHAOS!!! No popcorn allowed till they are married!!!
Now I’m older, and (a bit) wiser, and I’ve realized that chaos has a life of it’s own. I now call him Mr. Chaos! I have accepted that he just wants to be a part of my life, wants to walk next to me and hold my hand. I now grab that hand and laugh at just how funny Mr. Chaos can be. And he keeps me on my toes.
He likes to make it rain just as I’m about to hang up the laundry on the clothesline. He will give us a flat tire when we have a hippotherapy session in the mountains. That stray cat we took in? Pregnant. Her kittens now have turned out house upside down. I have a huge roast to bake, oven breaks. We get popcorn as a special treat for youngest son, (yep, I finally allow it in the house again) and the microwave decides it’s done and wants to be put to pasture. Christmas is coming, and then my stepson’s wedding. I expect Mr. Chaos to be having the time of his life for the next few months.
His latest prank was to make our washing machine break mid cycle! I got to experience the joy of wringing out a large load of laundry by hand, and watching it take two whole days to dry in the rain… Funny Mr. Chaos. Funny. Good one! one… two… three…
Oh, and I homeschool. I can write a book about that one! Trying to keep an autistic boy (PDD and probably ADHD) focused and engaged is the definition of chaotic! Yep, Mr. Chaos thinks it’s hilarious to join in on the fun!
I think they invented coffee, chocolate, and other indulgences to send Mr. Chaos into the corner for a time out once and a while. Yes, he whines and sometimes yells, but when I have my coffee mug warming my hands, and that sweet elixir settling into my bones, it gives me a moment to pause, breathe, count to 3, and move on to the next crisis that Mr. Chaos has planned for me. Bring it on, my friend, I’m waiting!
We all have that idea of what a perfect family is, what a perfect mom is. I’m not it. I never will be. And most of the moms I know won’t be either. This was my reality, 20+ years ago when my two girls were in grade 1, and their baby brothers were one. It’s a bit different now with Peanut, since we homeschool, live in the Caribbean and not Canada, but the concept is still the same.
Myth: The kids wake up, and by the time they reach the kitchen, they are dressed, hair brushed, all smiles and ready to eat the hot breakfast consisting of bacon, eggs, pancakes, toast, and fresh squeezed juice that you, the mom slaved over for an hour. We all sit at the table and discuss what the plans are for the day. The loving kids eat with joy, then grab their bags and out the door for their school bus.
Reality: Mom overslept. Now I have to shake each child awake like they are experiencing a 8.0 earthquake, and yelling at them to hurry up, get dressed, tell them to brush their hair. By the time they stumble down to the kitchen, one half dressed, one only in undies and shoes, I have their bowls of cereal on the table. The fighting begins… One wants Capt’n Crunch, one wants Kraft Dinner… As they eat, I frantically brush their hair, locate their boots (didn’t they leave them at the door last night? did they get up and hide somewhere as we slept?), stuff their schoolbags with their lunches. What did I make for them? I hope it’s something the school won’t refuse. These days all they can eat seems to be tofu sandwiches with sprouts. Oh, and don’t wrap em in anything, your garbage will come back home since the school is ‘green’ now… When they’re done wolfing down their breakfast, I send them scurrying to finish getting dressed. I sip my coffee, wishing it had something stronger in it. As one girl is almost ready for meltdown #100 because she doesn’t want to wear a coat today – it’s winter, coats are NOT an option I tell her! – I hear the school bus driver angrily honking the horn at us. I shove the girls into their snowsuits and out the door and hope that they behave at school!
Myth: The house is spotless, and I only have light dusting to do.
Reality: I think my house was hit by a tornado. Four kids leave a house looking like a disaster zone. EVERY DAY!! Thank goodness for modern conveniences like dishwashers. Still, someone wrote “wash me” in the dust on the TV. The dust bunnies are asking for food and water. But do I have time to clean? Bwahahaha, NO. Just as I’m about to start dusting, the little ones wake up. Yes, twins. Again. These boys hit the ground running. My job is to keep them out of danger, fed, dressed, and alive. Everything else is icing on the cake. Cleaning? Are you kidding? Heck, by noon I’ve got them to nap, and cleaning will have to wait, I need a shower. I think my last one may have been 2 days ago.
Myth: A full three course meal is on the table by 5pm, the kids are dressed and groomed, I’m in a cute dress and wearing heels and pearls. We sit and dine by candle light, and talk about all the interesting things we did that day.
Reality: Fast food burger place, here we come. Bonus if they have a play structure.
Myth: Kids snuggled up, falling asleep to a sweet fairy tale read my mom, sitting at the edge of their bed. When they are asleep, mom kisses their foreheads. It’s now maybe 8pm, Parents get time to put up their feet, relax and enjoy each other’s company as they talk, read the newspaper, or watch tv.
Reality. I have read the same story at least 5 times to 4 kids who do not want to sleep, not ever! No, you don’t need to go pee, you just went 2 minutes ago. No, there are no monsters in the closet or under the bed… Finally, it’s an hour past their bedtime and they’re still wide awake. I kiss them all, turn off the light, and pray they fall asleep soon. It’s 9pm! I pick up all the toys strewn all over the house, finally dust off the ‘wash me’ sign, pass the broom over the floor and evict the dust bunnies. Dishes go in the dishwasher, and the kitchen counters get scrubbed. The kitchen floor gets mopped, and a load of laundry goes into the washing machine. The clothes in the dryer get ironed and folded, lunches for tomorrow get made (tofu again?) and I reward myself with a chocolate bar I hid in the empty box of oatmeal. By 11 pm I’m ready for bed, and I settle in for a much deserved sleep.
Myth: Mom wakes up to the break of dawn, feeling fresh and alert.
Reality: And I forgot to set the alarm again…
Flames. The ones that dance in a burning fire, not the flames of love that dance in your heart, although sometimes the two may seem like one.
Nothing brings back memories faster than a scent, and probably the most primal is the one that wafts through the air from a fire. We know instinctively that somewhere, wherever that smell is coming from, there are flames dancing, and maybe even a few friends huddled around it, enjoying the moment.
In the fall, it was a ritual for many of us to pick a warm day without a breeze. You hope there wasn’t any rain for a few days before so that everything was nice and dry on the ground. That day was spent raking up all the leaves in the yard into a huge pile. If you were a kid, or were a kid at heart, the day was filled with laughter and joy as you kept jumping into this soft pile of leaves, throwing them up into the sky and laughing as they tickled you on their way back down to the ground. Then you would rake them back up again. And this little jump, toss, rake, jump, toss, rake, would continue for quite a while.
As evening came, it was time for the fire to start, for the leaves to become a bonfire. We’d toast marshmallows over the flames as they danced. The smell is one of a kind, and will bring any adult who experienced this right back to their childhood on those autumn days. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this smell.
Maybe even more primal is a wood fire. Sitting around a campfire in the summer, a bonfire in the fall or spring, or a cozy fire in the fireplace, warming a family in the winter, especially on Christmas.
We gather around it, stare at the flames. We stir the coals with sticks, and watch the flames dance, change color from reds to oranges, sometimes even blues. We are mesmerized by flames. And each fire we get to sit by seems to reconnect us with our past. The smell of the wood, the hypnotic movements of the flames, they transport us to days gone by.
Laughter, family, friendship, food, fun. All there, dancing merrily in the flames.